My Secret Life
The sins of some people are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later. 1 Timothy 5:24
Most of us, in our drug addiction, have desired to keep it hidden. We know that others disapprove. We understand that it could destroy our families and careers. We get that it’s self-destructive. We’re ashamed of it and so, we do whatever we can to keep it a secret. While we’re able to keep it a secret, we’re able to keep doing it. We tell ourselves that as long as no one knows, no one else is getting hurt.
For me though, my addiction eventually spilled out for all to see. It was, of course, incredibly painful when it became public knowledge, but that had to happen. As long as I could keep it a secret, no one would ever intervene. As long as no one knew, I wasn’t going to stop. As excruciating as it was, I can now look back at that time and be profoundly thankful for it. Everyone finding out was a blessing. Before that, I’d gone for years, living as a zombie in my secret life. I’m afraid I’d still be that zombie if I wasn’t forced to address my addiction. Discovery and consequence were the painful jolts that I needed to find recovery and new life.
In today’s passage, Paul hinted at this. In it, he said that some struggles are obvious and apparent to all. If I indulge in gluttony, gaining 20 pounds, everyone sees it. I can try to hide it, but no one is fooled. Paul went on to say though, that some struggles are less obvious, remaining a secret. If I have a pornography addiction, I might be able to hide it for years, even from those closest to me. It’s possible to live enslaved to an addiction, spiritually paralyzed, for decades with no one knowing. Some struggles are obvious and some are not.
Personally, I’m thankful for the struggle that I couldn’t hide. I can look at my life now and be thankful for the painful transformation. I hated myself before. Now, I love my new life in Christ. I’d never have gotten here if I could have kept my struggle a secret.
As horrible as it can be when our mess is revealed, that’s not the worst fate that can befall us. The worst struggle, or the most destructive sin, is the one that we can keep a secret for our entire lives. As long as we never have to address it, we will never escape it. While we’re able to maintain the secret life, we’ll never be free from its destruction, even if no one else sees.